This is the first of a vlog series through which we intend to look deeper into our society today, on the next series, we will be speaking to different illustrious sons and daughters of Onicha kingdom.
Here are excerpts from the first by Nonso Areh.
“I am a Digital Publicist, the Managing Editor of Inlandtown.com and the
Administrator of Onicha Mmili archives.
Why did you start inland town and Onicha Mmili?
“The reason behind starting off the website that was born in 2015, was borne out of
passion and love for my culture. When I went through the online presence, I found out that
Onitsha was lacking in occupying that space. I got motivation when I came across a website that
was called www. amightytree.org owned by one Mr. Henderson. So I thought to myself, what do I
do to contribute to help promote that fine work Onitsha has, untold Stories that can motivate
others. A lot of people in the Diaspora, they have the love for Onitsha, but is there a community
that can bring them together? Virtually, I started with the Inland Town by posting the things that
happen in Onitsha, like events. We started with the Ifejioku, then Umatu came up, we covered it…
we covered Ofala, Agbalanze title taking and Odu. When I met Mr. Emeka Mmaduegbuna, who
is a PR guru here in Lagos, he gave me a fatherly advice because I wanted to introduce the
Inland Town to him and he eventually advised me that, what about having something like the
Nigerian Nostalgia which was supposed to be a group that see to a lot of contents, old contents
and all that. So he advised that I should have a community of such that can feed that website www.inlandtown.com (content wise). So that is how Onicha Mmili archives came up. It is a closed group only meant for Onitsha people either by birth or marriage, Nwadiani (Onicha Mother) as well can be part of it”.
What informed the choice of names?
“You have been to Onitsha and the addresses that are given to people’s homes, for
instance the Inu Onitsha will normally see the Inland Town being attached to it, so it becomes a
peculiar aspect that once you mention Inland Town, you are talking about Onitsha. If you go to
Delta, Iseluku, Onitsha Ugbo and Onitsha Agbala, culturally even in language, food and all that
we have a lot of similarities. They are the ones that actually refer to us as Onicha Mmili and we
refer to them as Onicha Olola or Onicha Ugbo. Luckily for me, when the name was floated
people embraced it.
What do you hope to achieve with the communities?
“The major reason for having this up is to make sure that there is that unity, there is
empowerment and there is exchange of ideas”
What do you think has been the effect of creating these communities?
“People like I have said before have embraced the paradigm shift that we are using
that space to conquer. We look at ourselves as brothers and I can tell you quite frankly, most of
the people there have not met each other face to face but they are very comfortable. Even when
one of our members had issues in paying the school fees, we gathered together and did the
payment. The most important things are the best wishes that the people in the group wish each
other, especially during the birthdays”.
What role does social media and the digital space play in the development of Onicha people?
“My happiness is that in my life time, this kind of tool is out bringing people together
and exchanging ideas. Social media has empowered a lot of youth now, in Onitsha, there is ICT
Training for people who just graduated, Onitsha Indigenes. I know through that traning, they will
go and develop apps, they will go and feed their homes, and they will bring out new ideas. That
is the space where you can sell your business, a space where you can meet people, partner with
people of like minds, set off with ideas. There is what we call crowd funding, a lot of people
have been able to benefit from that, thanks to Social Media”.